SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake to close next year

The Detroit News

An Oakland County seminary that has trained generations of Polish priests over its 136-year history will close next year.

Officials with SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake announced Thursday the school will cease operations at the end of the 2021-22 academic year.

The Board of Regents for Orchard Lake Schools, which shares a campus with the seminary, cited several reasons for the decision, including "declining enrollment caused by demographic changes in the United States, more vocational options in Poland, and recent policy changes that do not allow Polish seminarians to transfer between seminaries."

FILE - Msgr. Charles G. Kosanke, right, with an unidentified seminarian, watches the live broadcast of the Beautification of Pope John Paul II inside the Shrine Chapel of Our Lady of Orchard Lake at the SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary in 2008.

In a statement posted on the seminary's website, the regents said the seminary will work to help the 11 currently enrolled seminarians finish their studies, "either in their assigned diocese or through another seminary."

In addition to the seminary, the campus at 3535 Commerce Road includes Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High School and a Polish cultural center. Pope John Paul II visited the campus twice, when he was Krakow Archbishop Karol Wojtyla, before becoming pontiff in 1978.

The regents will "evaluate options in the coming months and years" for the seminary buildings, the statement said.

While the seminary is in the Archdiocese of Detroit, the archdiocese does not operate the private institution, a representative said Thursday night.

The seminary was founded in 1885 on Detroit's east side by a Polish immigrant priest, the Rev. Joseph Dabrowski. The school moved to Orchard Lake in 1909.

Its closure comes months after a federal lawsuit accused the Rev. Miroslaw Krol, chancellor of the campus that includes the seminary, of sexual misconduct involving subordinates. Krol, who has placed on administrative leave, has denied the allegations.